not a member? click here to sign up

Ho Hey Corral

Don’t you love it when a non-existent plan comes together? Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers ponders how their humble ambitions and brand of rustic Americana are making them massive.

Craig Fitzpatrick, 24 Jan 2013

When Wesley Schultz was nine-years old, a Beethoven impersonator came to his school to teach the joys of music and a New York Times reporter caught it for posterity. Also captured were the young New Jersey resident’s hopes for the future, with the 1992 article informing us that Wesley, “who wants to be an artist, said, ‘I spend a lot of time on my drawings and it turns out good ‘cos I’ve been practicing a lot’.”

Whether the faux-Ludwig inspired a move from crayons to six-string is unclear, though Schultz’ hard-working artistic ethos was already in place. It would be two more decades before he became a star but it has stood him in good stead.

His Denver-based band The Lumineers have recently become an ‘overnight success’ after seven years’ hard graft, with their contagious single ‘Ho Hey’ achieving ubiquity in 2012. The stage is set for an even bigger year to come. Not that impending fame could possibly go to his head at this point.

“It must be tough when you get your dream job when you’re 20 or 21,” the frontman ponders without a trace of irony. “I’ll be 30 this year so it’s easier to appreciate what’s happened... and also see it for what it is.”

For him, the sold-out shows and appearances on Letterman and SNL aren’t overawing, more “a head-scratcher”. You imagine there’s a big bag of salt constantly sitting at the side of the stage as they do their stripped back, stamp-and-clap thing.

“And that ‘bag of salt’, as you put it, is a lot easier to have if you realise that it’s not all to your own credit. We happened to be there, working hard, at the right time. But that doesn’t mean we deserved all this, it’s just fortunate the way it’s played out.”

Founding members Schultz and drummer Jeremiah Fraites had a connection long before The Lumineers was born. Fraites’ older brother, Joshua, was a childhood friend of the singer and when he passed away in 2001, the pair channeled their feelings of loss into separate music projects. It would be another few years before a mutual friend brought them together in New York. Wesley was initially hesitant.

“I wanted to play with this guy,” he recalls. “But he said, ‘Look, you can’t play with me now unless you’re willing to let Jeremiah sit in.’ And I said ‘I don’t think so’! It was very hard to get musicians to show up, so I didn’t want to have another person who was just a pain in the ass. Not because I had anything against him musically or anything, just because of the simple fact that musicians are unreliable.

“I begrudgingly agreed to get together with him and we ended up really clicking. It kinda stuck, but it wasn’t anything planned, and that’s kinda the story of this whole band.”

They were quite a different proposition in their early Brooklyn days.

“We were toying around with our own songs a lot, playing a heavier, almost prog kind of music.”

Hopefully all recordings were saved for the inevitable Lumineers box-set 20 years from now?

“We saved them all, they’re in a vault!” he laughs. T

he cost of the east coast holding them back, a move to Denver and the recruitment of Neyla Pekarek on cello via-a Craiglist ad led to their current sound.

Comparisons have been made with former tourmates Mumford & Sons and they’ve been tied to the folk revival that’s infiltrated arenas around the world. Schultz brushes it off.

“We come from different backgrounds to all of these bands. We’re just interested in writing songs, and that’s how we dress them up. We try to play ‘open air’ as much as we can. We play a lot of living rooms and house shows and that tells us a lot about how surprised people can be by musicians playing instruments without amplification, without technology – special effects basically – being involved. People want to believe in something, to hear something real. They’re searching for that because everything can be so tweaked and manufactured.”

Page 1/2     <Previous 1 2 Next> 

Artist Related Content

Photo Galleries For This Artist

Latest Related Articles For This Artist

The Lumineers, O2

The Lumineers playing the O2 on Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Gallery: 22 Nov 2013

Stubborn Love

REVIEW: 07 Mar 2013

The Lumineers, live at the Olympia

Considering they have the talent and the wherewithall to hold an entire theatre in thrall after just one album, who knows just how big or how good The Lumineers could get? Finding out is going to be fun...

REVIEW: 01 Mar 2013

Lumineers for Dublin

The 'Ho Hey' stars are back this November

News: 18 Feb 2013

Lumineers, Olympia Theatre

The Lumineers live at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin, 2013

Gallery: 18 Feb 2013

best of ireland

Contact Us

Hot Press,
13 Trinity Street,
Dublin 2.
Rep. Of Ireland
Tel: +353 (1) 241 1500

Click here for more contact information.

Click here to find out more about Hot Press

Hot Press always welcomes feed back so if you've got something to tell us click here.

Advertise With Us

For more detail on how to advertise with Hot Press click here or call us on +353 (1) 241 1540